Expert 2K-FA

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I picked up a new Expert 2K-FA at the Visalia DX Convention on Saturday and I am looking for advice on how to connect it to my Flex 6700.   I bought the amp to replace my Icom PW-1 because I mostly work my 6700 remotely from various countries during our extensive travels so I needed an amp that I could turn on and off remotely which was not easy to do with the PW-1.

I understand that the API for the 2K is different than the 1K and the SPE has not yet released the API to Steve K5FR for DDUTIL

So I would be specifically interested to know if anyone has connected it to follow the bands, what cables they used, as well as specific block wiring diagrams of the computers, radio, amp and antennas.... and cable specific wiring diagrams and, of course, the software that works.  

What limitations are there from controlling just from the 2k-FA software control panel rather than DDUTIL?

I will be connecting the system to my SteppIR MonstIR...

Did you continue to connect the SteppIR to the computer and DDUTIL or should I use the SteppIR Control from the Amp?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Posted 5 years ago

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george stiglich

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Ky6LA:

I also have the Expert 2K-FA and Flex 6500 . . . Fantastic combination . . . makes the Flex operate like a 2K Watt transceiver, with automatic 6 antennas connectors and wide-range auto tuning! I use it fully integrated with Flex and a Kenwood 990S, as the Expert 2K can support two individual rigs.

Connecting with the Flex is VERY easy, takes less than 10-15 minutes where most of the time is in wiring the RS232 connector. Here is what I did:

Took and old RS232 connector and cut off one end (other end goes to the Flex RS232 female (?) connector on the back of the rig). Used an Ohm meter to identify the 3 wires I needed (RDX, TDX, Grnd) using the Flex manual as a guide. Then took the SPE provided connector and wired it according to the Expert manual . . . plugged each end of the cable . . . that is it!

You need to set up the “Input x” to support Flex RS232 serial protocol (simple selection on the configuration table), and the Expert 2K takes care of the rest! The two units communicate perfectly between each other setting Band, Antennas, frequency, tuner, PTT, etc., Seamlessly, no intervention, fully automatic. You pick the frequency hit PTT and the Expert 2K instantly follows (using flex Rs232 link) . . . could not do this with my old Palstar HF Auto tuner + Alpha 87A . . . wonderful 6 antenna selection from 160M to 10/6M!

I cannot comment on SteppIR connection as I do not have one, and decided not to get a SteppIR  given the automatic instantaneous antenna matching on the Expert 2K. However, I read the instructions and talked to other users and know it works well but you need to be VERY carfule to follow the SPE instructions as there are timing issues needing to be configured.

I would suggest you consider not using the SteppIR controller and let the Expert 2K do the tuning (the SteppIR is well within the 3:1 tuning range of the Amp).

Also recommend taking the time to set up the auto tuner for each band/antenna/segment so you be assured of 1.00:1 SWR switching (take me about 45-60  minutes to cover all combinations) 

Good luck  . . . you will LOVE you new purchaseJ

George N3LK

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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George
I am a bit confused by ur reply.

First there is NO RS232 output from the 6500/6700 at the back of the rig... so I do not understand how you could possibly connect an RS232 - DSub9 or DSub15 or DSub25 connector to get RDX or TDX data from the rig itself.  Band Data could be obtained from the computer running the 6500/6700 but as I understand it Steve Nance has yet to get his hands on the 2K-FA API.

Second the operation you describe is the frequency counter sensing mode where you must hit PTT to get the amp to follow the frequency rather than the 6500/6700 sending band data directly to the Amp... which is the safer way to operate

Could you please explain?
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Sergey, R5AU

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Well, in general George is right, but necessary to say a bit more, i am using 2K-FA and  F6700 with DDUtil, Unfortunately DDUtil has no 2k-FA, then i set amps into passive listener port with appropriate CAT command and port speed. For connectivity 2k-FA  i am using  one of the http://www.ftdichip.com/Products/Cables/USBRS232.htm, you can select what ever you want upon you requirements, BTW this one solution what is  fully fit to the WIN8 requirements.

On PC side you USB-COM converter will be recognised as a COM port with further utilization in DDUtil

You should cut a COM side of this adapter and make appropriate 15 pin connector to the 2K-FA

Regards

 

  

(Edited)
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george stiglich

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When I refer to RS-232 I am NOT talking about a specific physical “connector/cable," but the Serial communications capability specified in the "RS-232 protocol." On the Flex 6X00 the connector is the 'accessory" port on the back of the rig (NO, has nothing to do with whatever PC that might be used to host the Flex software . . . this is not directly involved with the Expert/Flex control functionally . . . no need to use USB/Serial converter, as control information is part of the Flex box).

The Flex box "Connection Accessory port" uses DB-15, same type of physical cable employed to connect a VGA monitor. There are 15 wires in the DB-15 and you only are concerned about 3: 1 for ground, 2 for serial communication of a few basic RS-232 commands (using original Kenwood specifications, but adapted and referred to as Flex specifications in both product manuals, and employed to signal freq/band, etc).

For reference and instructions for linking FLEX/Expert 2K See page 25 of the Flex HW manual for the use of Pins12, 15, and 5 . . . and Page 36 of the Expert manual (Version 1.0 or 2.0)

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Joe - KC2TN

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Pins 12 (SDA) & 15 (SCL) on the Flex accessory port relate to I2C serial channels.

Since these pins are to be connected to the SPE accessory jack directly via the modified VGA cable, page 36 shows SPE pins 1 & 9 as RS232 RX & TX respectfully!

HOWEVER, the SPE accessory port also shows pins 10 & 3 are for RX TTL and TX TTL respectfully. These are the ones we talked about using during our conversation..

Not being a serial communications expert these SPE connections are at different levels.
So I'm still not sure which ones are compatible with the FLEX I2C channels supplied at the Flex accessory port and which pair to use.

I've tried to do some research on the I2C specifications but see no correlation to RS232 or TTL level connections.

The Flex explanation of Pins 12 & 15 say "refer to SmartSDR documentation for more information!" I don't see any other documentation other than the hardware manual that refers to these connections!

I'd sure like to see these connections explained in a little more detail, since the use of different terminology terms are confusing to me at least!

Joe - KC2TN
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Joe and George and Sergey

Same Question....  I too do not see how an I2C communications  (Inter Integrated Circuit) port could work as it is a different serial protocol and speeds than that which we normally use.in RS-232... also the levels are different from RS-232 and TTL...   According to Page 25 of the Flex 6700 Hardware Manual... Pin 12 - SDA I/O is a bidirectional I2C data channel.  Pin 15 SCL/I/O is a Clocking Channel for I2C Data and Pin 5 is ground.  I2C uses only two bidirectional open-drain lines, Serial Data Line (SDA) and Serial Clock Line (SCL), pulled up with resistors. Typical voltages used are +5 V or +3.3 V which is in the usual TTL range and which is why it is not blowing up when connected to a TTL circutit....

George seems to suggest that He needs to hit PTT to get the amp to follow the 6700...

BUT that usually means that it is changing frequency according to what 2K-FA reads on its internal frequency counter and not changing frequency because it read band data which is the desired mode of operation... i.e. the 2K-FA should change bands and frequencies as soon as the radio changes frequency WITHOUT needing to hit PTT.

if you actually have the 2K-FA following the radio and changing frequencies automatically WITHOUT hitting PTT... then I would love to understand what you are doing..

Sergey - I have 5 physical Serial Ports and 6 USB ports on my computer so I have lots of spare serial ports to use  without needing a USB to Serial Adaptor

Sergey's idea of using DDUTIL and connecting the 2K-FA to a spare Serial Port as a passive listener...should work and I will wire it up tonite...

BUT obviously I would love to have SPE release the API to Steve Nance K5FR so that we could have "native" control via DDUTIL


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Sergey, R5AU

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Sure Howard, I mentioned common approach for newest PC :-) what have no any one COM on board, you can use sucessefully you one COM with DDUtil and 2K-FA trouble free, I have enjoy this combination since last Aug!
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Joe - KC2TN

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Lloyd - N9LB suggested this solution (below) 1 1/2 years ago when the 6000 specs were being developed.

I haven't seen a solution or hardware interface developed yet to utilise the I2C pairs from the accessory port.
There are some I2C interface solutions available for USB/RS232 but these reuquire some software be written and the required data be available from the Flex.

I suspect those using the 2K-FA and the 6000 are doing so by utilising the Band tables and Freq counter internal to the amp. This requires a PTT to synch the two. It is fast but NOT true following as SPE advertises. At least for the Flex 6000/2K-FA combination.

I will be interested to see if Passive listener with DDutil works.

> I am suggesting that two things should happen:
>
> 1. Flex software engineers send all band data out through the I2C "Accessory
> Connector" ( at least for the transmitting band ).
>
> 2. Flex or a 3rd party hardware manufacturer would build and sell products
> that will take the I2C band data and convert it into popular formats such
> as:
> A. Open collector or contact closures, one for each band.
> B. RS-232 for controlling devices adhering to the Kenwood or other control
> format.
> C. Other common formats ( what do you other Flexers need? )
>
> I can see these accessory devices being very useful for many types of
> operators & installations, such as:
> - VHF/UHF ops using multiple transverters.
> - Locally operated stations wanting to automate band changing of amps and
> antenna selectors.
> - Remote and shared club stations needing to control accessories & antenna
> selection.
>
> 73
>
> Lloyd - N9LB
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Flexedge mailing list
>
> http://mail.flex-radio.biz/mailman/li...
> This is the FlexRadio Systems e-mail Reflector called FlexEdge. It is used for posting topics related to SDR software innovation and other technical SDR topics.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Sergey's Method WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course I did not have the right connector in the parts collection

Since I bought my unit off the floor of the DX Convention, it did not come with the low density Male 15 Pin D-Sub connector... (they are shipping it to me)...

Since the connector on the 2K-FA is not the more common High Density 15 pin VGA format which I have a lot of......

So.....Off I went to Fry's today to pick up a couple of 15 Pin D-Sub Low Density connectors and a 9 Pin M-F D-sub cable..


Making the cable
1.  Cut the male end off the 9 Pin cable
2.   Identified the wires to pin outs on DB9
3.   Connections are as follows:

DB- 9 F   <-------------------------------->   DB-15M

Pin 2   RX232 <--------------------------  Pin 9 TX 232

Pin 3   TX 232  -------------------------> Pin 3 RX232

Pin 5   GND  <---------------------------> Pin 4  GND


On the Computer
1.   Connected cable to computer COM5  - (you can use any spare COM Port or a USB to Serial device)
2.   Set COM5 to Passive Listener in DDUTIL
3.   Set Baud rate to "9600-N-8" in DDUTIL
4.   Enable DDUTIL "Passive Listener"
5.   Enabled DDUTIL "Follow PDSR"
6.   Enable DDUTIL "Follow Mode"

On the 2K-FA
1.   Set CAT to "Kenwood"
2.   Set Baud Rate to "9600"

Now the 2K-FA automatically follows the 6700

NO NEED TO HIT PTT

Thank You Sergey for the good idea...


I still would like a "Native App" working through DDUTIL...
But this is more the acceptable...

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Sergey, R5AU

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Well Howard, nice to hear!
Do not forget to set on passive listener port equal CAT protocol as you use in you 2K-FA and enjoy. I have no trouble with such connection, necessary do not forget to start DDUtil :-)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Correct Cable

DB- 9 F   <-------------------------------->   DB-15M

Pin 2   RX232 <--------------------------  Pin 9 TX 232

Pin 3   TX 232  -------------------------> Pin 1 RX232

Pin 5   GND  <---------------------------> Pin 4  GND

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I made a TYPO. The correct cable layout is below.

Until the 2K-FA API is released to Steve K5FR Nance so he can write a Native App into DDUTIL
You need to connect the 2K-FA via the Passive Listener Port of DDUTIL in order to make it work with the new Flex 6700

Parts
1 only 15 Pin D-Sub Low Density connector
1 only 9 Pin M-F D-sub cable..

Making the cable
1. Cut the male end off the 9 Pin cable
2. Identified the wires to pin outs on DB9
3. Connections are as follows:

DB- 9 F DB-15M

Pin 2 RX232 Pin 1 RX232

Pin 5 GND Pin 4 GND

On the Computer
1. Connected cable to computer COM5 - (you can use any spare COM Port or a USB to Serial device)
2. Set COM5 to Passive Listener in DDUTIL
3. Set Baud rate to "9600-N-8" in DDUTIL
4. Enable DDUTIL "Passive Listener"
5. Enabled DDUTIL "Follow PDSR"
6. Enable DDUTIL "Follow Mode"

On the 2K-FA
1. Set CAT to "Kenwood"
2. Set Baud Rate to "9600"

Now the 2K-FA automatically follows the 6700

NO NEED TO HIT PTT

I still would like a "Native App" working through DDUTIL...
But this is more the acceptable as a temporary solution
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Making the cable
1.  Cut the male end off the 9 Pin cable
2.   Identified the wires to pin outs on DB9
3.   Connections are as follows:

DB- 9 F   <-------------------------------->   DB-15M

Pin 2   RX232 <--------------------------  Pin 9 TX 232

Pin 3   TX 232  -------------------------> Pin 1 RX232

Pin 5   GND  <---------------------------> Pin 4  GND


On the Computer
1.   Connected cable to computer COM5  - (you can use any spare COM Port or a USB to Serial device)
2.   Set COM5 to Passive Listener in DDUTIL
3.   Set Baud rate to "9600-N-8" in DDUTIL
4.   Enable DDUTIL "Passive Listener"
5.   Enabled DDUTIL "Follow PDSR"
6.   Enable DDUTIL "Follow Mode"

On the 2K-FA
1.   Set CAT to "Kenwood"
2.   Set Baud Rate to "9600"

Now the 2K-FA automatically follows the 6700

NO NEED TO HIT PTT
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Tim K8XS

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Everyone keeps saying SPE will not release the CAT specs for the 2KFA. This has been answered by SPE many times; however, I don't think most people are understanding the answer. There is no CAT protocol for the 2KFA. The remote control program that runs on the PC simply sends key presses back to tha 2KFA just like it would receive if you were pressing the front panel of the 2KFA. For example, when you press the right arrow, a right arrow key stroke is sent to the 2KFL. What that key stroke means is totally dependent upon where you are in the menu. Just like when you hit the right arrow on the front panel of the amp. The right arrow key stoke gets passed to the internal menu processing firmware of the 2KFA. Think about it as if the computer program was just a remote keypad. There is no protocol being passed to the 2KFL. Only which key was pressed. This key press is then processed by the menu control firmware just like it came from the front panel. SPE thought this was the cheapest and quickest way of providing remote control. If you still have questions, let me know and I'll try to explain it a different way.

73,
Tim K8XS
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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This issue is that we would like to run the 2K-FA under DDUTIL like we can do with the 1F-FA so that all the controls are in a single place - Not running a separate control interface program.
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Tim K8XS

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I understand that. I was just trying to explain what the road block was. Unfortunately, SPE may never develop a CAT protocol.
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Sergey, R5AU

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Tim, you are right, unfortunately SPE have not planned implementations with F6K, however you can sucessefully use DDUtil or direct frequency detect by 2k-fa
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I have already got the 2K-FA working with DDUTIL as a Passive Listener Port... However I look enviously at the DDUTIL internal emulation of the 1K-FA and dream that it would be equally convenient to have that work for the 2K-FA
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AB9UU

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I am having trouble and I believe it is more of a computer issue.  I did as KY6LA suggested as far as wiring.  He was very helpful via email.  Nice guy.  But, I am unable to get the DDUtil app to work.  It constantly says not connected and when I try to assign ports for passive listening or other items it says I cannot set a passive listening port as the port is in use by another application or something like that.  I rewired the cable twice and it looks OK.  Sounds like a computer issue.  Any ideas?
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AB9UU

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One other note.  I believe it is something to do with not having another virtual port but I am not a computer geek.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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You need a physical port to be the passive listener
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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R U Running SmartCat. DDUTIL communicates thru SmartCat.
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Joe - KC2TN

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AB9UU - I'm using a USB-Com adapter(Gigaware) to create a physical port as com6. You definitely need a separate com port.
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Paul W5PF

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Have you posed the problem on the DDutil reflector? The software author ,K5FR, is very responsive.


Paul W5PF
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AB9UU

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Yes and yes. I will play with it a bit more. I am using a USB db9 serial adaptor and wired like it says above a db15 (for spe 2kfa) to db9 to plug into it (usb adapter serial db9) going into pc. I am not sure how to select what ports on the DDUTIL options though. Hopefully I made the cable right too. If it were not for this the Flex is great.

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